The Johari window was developed in the 1950′s by two psychologists, Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. It can be used as one tool for developing self awareness as well as assisting with a little reflection on your interpersonal-relationships within both your work and personal environments.
The Johari window is divided up into 4 quadrants. Each quadrant represents the knowledge, skills, values, attitude and feelings of an individual.
The area covered by each quadrant reflects to what extent this information is shared or hidden from others, or from oneself.
The 4 Quadrants:
- what is known by the person about him/herself and is also known by others – open area, open self, free area, free self, or ‘the arena’
- what is unknown by the person about him/herself but which others know – blind area, blind self, or ‘blindspot’
- what the person knows about him/herself that others do not know – hidden area, hidden self, avoided area, avoided self or ‘facade’
- what is unknown by the person about him/herself and is also unknown by others – unknown area or unknown self
The aim of the Johari tool is to work on developing or expanding the ‘open’ quadrant.
As nurses, we open this area in order to improve our learning and professional development, we want to communicate better with our patients, we want to work well as a team member, we seek respect from our colleagues.
Opening this quadrant provides a greater space for effective communication, authentic behavior, and improved relationships within the various group dynamics as we swing through, from shift to shift.
Opening the window:
Blind area: Growth into the blind area might be achieved through seeking honest feedback from other members in your group or unit. This feedback might range from formal performance meetings with a manager to informal chats with friends.
For example, even though a nurse has been working on a particular ward for some time, they may in fact have a relatively large blind area because they have not received useful feedback, or perhaps they have not absorbed the feedback that was given.
The blind area is also pushed back as the nurse becomes more specialized. For example: increasing their knowledge of policies and procedures of the ward.
Asking a lot of questions is a great way to attain both feedback and knowledge.
Hidden area: Expanding into the hidden area is a delicate business.
Disclosure requires an environment of trust, it involves turning over to expose your soft underbelly, and it requires not less than a little bravery.
Of course we all have our secrets, thoughts and feelings that we keep to our selves. And so it should be.
Not all units or professional relationships are trustworthy (something to work on).
Besides, the world would very quickly slip into chaos if everyone exposed their deepest thoughts and feelings in totality to everyone else at every opportunity. At least it would if I did!
But by disclosing appropriate information about ourselves we can enhance mutual understanding and increase our effectiveness within the nursing team.
A new nurse on the ward may have a larger hidden area. As they become more comfortable within the environment their level of knowledge, skills and attitudes will begin to be disclosed to others in the group. They may also have a large unknown area, due perhaps to their current experience or lack of exposure to experiences within the work environment.
Unknown area: As you can see from the above diagram, as we push back the boundaries of our blind and hidden areas, aspects of our interpersonal relationships that nobody is aware of may be become self evident.
These boundaries are expanded by a combination of self-discovery as well as an openness to accepting help and knowledge from other members of your team.
Look through the window not at it:
As I have said, the Johari window is nothing more than a tool for you to reflect on.
Perhaps it is useful tool for you, perhaps not.
What does your own window look like? What sort of activities, might open a little space for you?
What about the windows of some of your workmates? How might you skillfully work to open a few windows in your own work environment?